NEW YORK – With 15 seconds left, the scoreboard showing St. John’s ahead by three, with Georgetown’s season on the line, the Hoyas were confused.

It was a fitting end to a befuddling season.

Coming out of a timeout with a chance to tie the game, the Hoyas passed the ball tentatively around the perimeter, ultimately finding redshirt freshman guard Nikita Mescheriakov in the corner.

escheriakov fired, and results were disastrous. The long three-pointer ricocheted off the back of the backboard and soared lifelessly into the crowd. St. John’s fans cackled, and Georgetown supporters ducked for cover.

escheriakov’s tragically comic misfire was a final late-game mishap in a season full of them. After two free throws from freshman guard Quincy Roberts, St. John’s finished ahead 64-59.

“I think we were a little confused when we came out [of the timeout] ‘cus one of our teammates was supposed to be at center and we had so many perimeter guys that we just got confused,” sophomore guard Chris Wright said following the game. “At that time we had to go to another option. I don’t think – we knew they were going to come out man-to-man, we just didn’t set up in the right spots and unfortunately we didn’t make a play.”

On the floor with Wright and Mescheriakov was Sapp, Summers and Freeman. Wright did not say to whom he was referring, but Summers was the only forward on the floor and likely the only choice to man the center position.

Georgetown’s starting center, Greg Monroe, had fouled out with 1:34 left.

The Hoyas loss, their 13th in the last 19 games, was yet another chapter in a maddeningly disappointing season.

“It’ll take some time to digest before I figure it out,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said. “It’s extremely disappointing. They all are. I cant think of any loss, `Oh, that’s a good, happy loss.’ This is the Big East tournament. When you lose in the tournament, it’s tough.”

For the other side, a 13th-seeded squad that would not have even made the Big East tournament in the previous format, it was yet another satisfying win over the Hoyas.

“I think it’s a great victory today and every win is something that you got to savor and enjoy,” St. John’s Head Coach Norm Roberts said.

The first half was a sloppy, back-and-forth affair, not surprising considering last week’s 59-56 slog fest. The Hoyas led for most of the period, but allowed the Red Storm to tie the game at 28 on a free throw by sophomore swingman D.J. Kennedy with 1:06 left and then take the lead on two Paris Horne freebies with four seconds remaining.

The second stanza started slowly for Georgetown, as the Hoyas fell behind by six within the first six minutes and nine with 10:37 left. After outrebounding St. John’s 23-15 before the break, Georgetown led the Red Storm corral 13 of the first 17 second-half boards.

But after falling behind by nine, the Hoyas began to show some fight. Monroe drove left and scored in the paint with 10:09 to go, and after the teams traded misses, the Big East rookie of the year scored again off of a Sapp feed with 8:47 remaining.

With just over eight minutes remaining, freshman guard Jason Clark rebounded a Summers miss and drew a hard foul from sophomore forward Justin Burrell. The referees signaled an intentional foul, giving Clark two shots and the Hoyas the ball. Clark converted both to trim the lead to three.

On the ensuing Georgetown possession, Summers drew a foul and knocked down one free throw. After St. John’s sophomore guard Malik Boothe missed a three, Monroe got to the line on the other end and made two free throws of his own to tie the game.

To complete the 12-0 run, Sapp drilled a three with 6:02 left to give the Hoyas an edge.

“I felt we were in a pretty good position, I thought we were in a pretty good mindset,” Thompson said. “But coming down the stretch, you know, we didn’t make the play – we didn’t make the plays. We didn’t execute at the offensive end or the defensive end and they did.”

Georgetown held a slight advantage until 3:42 remained, when Paris Horne drove into the lane, shot clock winding down, and lofted a floater up over sophomor forward Julian Vaughn. The ball coasted through the net, Horne hit the deck, and the officials blew a whistle. After a free throw, St. John’s had the lead. The Red Storm would not relinquish it.

On the next St. John’s possession, Georgetown played good defense for 30 seconds once again, but this time Horne cached a three to push the lead to four.

“Paris has done this pretty much all year because our quarterback, Malik Boothe, knows how to get him the ball,” Roberts said. “We ran a play called “four up” for us. Even before he shot, Malik is jumping around going `It’s good, it’s good.’ When your point guard feels that way about you, that gives you a lot of confidence.”

Sapp hit his second big three of the game with 1:09 to go, bringing Georgetown within a deuce. For the Hoyas’ lone four-year player, playing not far from home, it was a final chance to dazzle at the world’s most famous arena.

“You’ve seen him, he’s done that for four years,” Thompson said. “So coming into his last game in a Georgetown uniform in the Garden, to see him do that, is not surprising. Not just the fact that they went in, but the flow of how they went in. We got into the corner, threw the diagonal, he was open, he knows the shots coming, he steps up and bangs it. . He’s done that and Jessie is a competitor.”

But there would be no more heroics. Freeman cut the lead to one with 18 seconds left with two free throws, but Roberts proceeded to do the same at the other end edging the lead back to three.

Then came the disastrous final possession.

The Hoyas have struggled mightily in such situations this season. With chances to win in the final minute at Seton Hall, at Cincinnati, at Syracuse and at St. John’s, Georgetown has come up empty each time.

While the Hoyas got burned on defense several times down the stretch, it was Georgetown’s total inability to execute offensively – the Hoyas finished the season having scored under 60 in five straight games – that confounds most.

“Any player, at any level, you go through a growth and a maturation process,” Thompson said. “You go through, everyone has a system that they run, whether it is us or any other team in the NCAA or any other team in the pros. And it takes time. It has taken this group a very long time just to get into a rhythm.

Now, as the Hoyas await their NIT pairing, questions about Georgetown’s stunning collapse echo throughout Madison Square Garden. How does a team beat No. 2 Connecticut, start out 10-1, and lose in the opening round of the Big East tournament, barely above .500?

“You have to handle the highs and the lows and we haven’t responded well this season to the lows,” Thompson said. “Whether it be from a possession on the court, to a loss, the ability to forget, to learn from, to get the emotion out of it and move on, we haven’t done well this year. And I mean in every aspect, from play to play, from game to game, and that’s, I think, a large part of that. I’m not trying to put all of it on this, but a large part of it is youth. . Obviously, we’re going to have the core group back and its not the time to talk about next year, but like I said, I felt confident going into every game this year and the hurt of this year hopefully will help us in the future.”

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